Argosy Cruises, which is based in Seattle, Washington, operates dining cruises and harbor tours around the Puget Sound region. They provide public or private cruises and their dining cruises are open for brunches, lunches, and dinners.
The staff of CruiseJobFinder was able to touch base with one of their human resources representatives, who explained their hiring process in great detail.
How many vessels does your company operate?
We boast the largest Northwest Pacific fleet with vessels ranging dramatically in size and price, from the Royal Argosy which is our biggest cruise ship, down to our Queen’s Launch which is able to accommodate 35 guests.
Describe a typical ‘cruise’ if there is such a thing. What would the shipboard experience be like for a typical employee?
Our normal dinner cruises and other sightseeing cruises all focus on 4 service standards that we want our employees to follow, namely Safety, Show, Courtesy and Adaptability. We integrate this into an enjoyable experience for our guests as well as staff. You will be expected to follow the rules and achieve the standards, basically providing top notch customer service at all times. You will greet guests, serve dinner, attend to the ship or the guests where needed, help other staff members, and get the guests safely back to port. Some ship employees are hired as entertainers, so you will need to perform for the duration of the cruise, with short breaks.
What are some of the common job titles you advertise for?
We usually require dinner service staff, catering staff, marine crew such as deckhands, customer service agents or reservation agents, as well as bands and singers.
What are some of the selling points you use to get people onboard to work with your company?
We don’t really use selling points. I think our reputation as a cruise company with various accomplishments and nominations speaks for itself – that and the fact that we have been around for so long. Everyone knows us and wants to work with us.
You are a local operator. Do you only hire people from the immediate area or do you occasionally hire people from other areas or even other countries?
We hire from anywhere in the United States.
Do you have a ‘season’ or ‘seasons’ where you’re busiest? Describe the seasonality aspect of your business.
Some of our cruises are seasonal, such as those on board the Sightseer (our original water taxi) which runs from March to October each year, and the cruises on Goodtime II out to Tillicum Village on Blake Island, also operate between March and October. Peak Seasons on the year-round vessels are considered to be from April to September, our summer season.
How many seasonal staff do you typically hire, and for which positions?
This differs each season, and some staff go from one vessel to another for the new season. We do normally need to hire extra staff like servers and deckhands for the busy season and then to cope with the rush for our Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year cruises.
Do you have a lot of college students working for you? If yes, then what attracts them to your jobs?
Yes, we get high school and college kids because we hire from the age of 18 upwards as long as they can produce a work permit and for those over the age of 21, they must produce a MAST Class 12/13 license to serve alcohol. This, along with the flexible work schedules are what attracts the younger crowd.
During what times of the year are you recruiting the most?
Generally during our quieter times, but we announce on our website when we are recruiting.
Describe your perfect candidate. How can someone best make a great first impression with you?
We want people who are positive and enthusiastic. You must have good interpersonal skills and be dependable. We have built our reputation on a wholesome, clean cut, traditional image, so we expect our employees to abide by this and follow our Employee Expectations (i.e. no visible tattoos or jewelry, hair must be neat and trimmed, men must be clean shaven, shoes must be brushed and polished etc).
What advice can you offer about resumes?
Make sure that your resume is current and up to date. It should list your most recent job experience first and should have any gaps in the timeline. This shows us that you are responsible and dependable. We also need to see that you have actual customer service experience. Don’t forget to list your references with contact details that are valid. Also, only send in a cover letter that is about 1 page or shorter when you apply.
Are there any common traits people should have in order to get hired, and then to succeed in the cruise industry?
In our industry, being a good customer service representative is the most obvious trait you need to have to succeed, but for us specifically, you must be over 18, have a valid MAST Class 12/13 permit, a Food Worker Card, and be tidy, show up on time, and do your work diligently.
What are the typical terms of employment offered?
We offer full time and seasonal employment as well as part time employment. We pay our seasonal employees around $8.75 per hour (Washington state minimum wage at time of publishing) and allow them to work between 3 and 5 nights a week. You must be available from late afternoon and be able to work until late at night.
Are there any benefits or perks that your employees enjoy?
We supply uniforms for our staff.